Rabbi Ron Symons on April 4, 2017
Year after year, brisket after brisket, matzah after matzah… this line is the highlight of my Passover experience. There is something that touches me deep down inside when we lift up that memory-laden-matzah and declare:
Ha Lachma Anya
This is the bread of affliction, the poor bread,
which our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt.
Let all who are hungry come and eat.
Let all who are in want, share the hope of Passover.
As we celebrate here, we join with our people everywhere.
This year we celebrate here.
Next year in the land of Israel.
Now we are still in bonds.
Next year may we all be free.
We hold up that matzah with refugees, immigrants and wanderers from across history with no clear destination. We eat that poor bread and are transported to the existential spiritual possibility that we might not have another meal in the near future knowing all too well that for millions of people today the uncertainty is a real and present danger to their physical well-being.
How perfect it is, just as the blossoms of spring peak through the darkness of winter, hope springs eternal that our story of slavery might inspire us to help others through their enslavement…. If only we shared our good fortune with those in need.
So, as we celebrate Passover this year, I invite you to enhance your family story with the story of modern day wanderers, immigrants all seeking to leave their 21st century Egypt. With thanks to HIAS, The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, I hope that you will share some of the readings that follow as you eat the bread of affliction.